Bonacic’s Watershed Legislation Approved By Committee

John J. Bonacic

April 22, 2008

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) announced today that members of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee approved his two pieces of legislation related to the watershed. One measure requires releases from reservoirs to avoid flooding and the other requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to review and analyze the structural integrity of high hazard dams.

"These bills are critically important to the people of our region," stated Senator Bonacic. "The residents of the Hudson Valley and Catskills are living near, and effectively below in many cases, billions of gallons of water held up by walls."

Senate bill 463 provides safeguards to the residents living in areas near high hazard dams by requiring detailed review and analysis of the dams’ structural integrity by a qualified engineer. It also requires DEC to review maintenance plans that shall be submitted by the owner of such dams to the DEC Commissioner by July of each year.

Senate bill 471 protects residents living near reservoirs by requiring the Commissioner of DEC to direct that reservoir levels be lowered to create a large enough void before any major inflow of water takes place such as seasonal effects of melting snow and ice. The creation of a void through lowering the reservoir water levels will safeguard residents from flooding when a significant ice and snow melting and/or a significant anticipated rain event.

"Both measures passed the Senate last year with overwhelming bipartisan support," continued Senator Bonacic. "Unfortunately, the Assembly failed to take action on either proposal to the detriment of many residents who, in some cases, lost everything during the June rain storms. The lives and property of many residents will continue to be in grave danger if the Assembly doesn’t act now."